[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rescue-911-title_4967.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:320:"This is 911, do you have an emergency?"]]

->''"This program contains true stories of rescues. All of the 911 calls you will hear [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer are real]]. Whenever possible, the actual people involved have helped us [[CrimeReconstruction reconstruct]] the events as they happened."''

''Rescue 911'' was a TV show that re-enacted true stories of people involved in emergency medical situations--it showed how the situation occurred, what happened, how other people helped, how emergency services got involved, and the aftermath of what happened.

The show aired on Creator/{{CBS}} from 1989 to 1996, and took its material from late 1980s and early 1990s cases. Each episode consisted of a few segments, each with its own reenactment of a true story interspersed with talking head interviews from the real life participants. [[StrictlyFormula Usually]], segments begin with people going about their daily lives leading to some person(s) becoming involved in a situation that causes an emergency, followed by citizens' responses to it, leading to an emergency services (police/fire/medical) response, followed by (maybe) a few scenes from the hospital, and concluding with a WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue.

Most of these stories involved some sort of serious physical injury or other life-threatening situation, although the vast majority of stories (though not all!) show that these emergencies have survivors. And there are a few stories that don't involve any injuries at all but have various unusual situations.

When originally aired on CBS, episodes were typically an hour long, although segments could (and would) be trimmed to create half-hour or even quarter-hour episodes, depending on how much time the network needed to fill. A half-hour version later aired in syndication.

The show was influential in its time, with viewers learning from the show and [[TaughtByTelevision applying that knowledge]] to their own emergency situations. This led to two specials called "100 Lives Saved" and "200 Lives Saved," which featured people who spoke of how the things they learned from the show helped them save other people's lives.

The show was hosted by Creator/WilliamShatner.
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!!This show contains examples of:
* ActingUnnatural: {{Discussed|Trope}} by a police officer in "911 He's Not an Officer." He says that when he pulls his vehicle up behind or next to a walking suspect and gently guns the engine, then they'll move to the side to get out of the way if they're innocent. If they're not innocent, then they'll keep on walking in an unnatural gait to try and get away without running (doing what the officer calls a "penguin walk").
* ActuallyPrettyFunny:
** In one episode, a dog gets his head stuck in a dryer vent. The kids who are taking care of the dog are actually ''quite'' amused but call 911 regardless.
** Same thing with the tangled dog who accidentally dialed 911 in "911-Dialing Dog." The responding officers rescue the dog and have a good laugh, though most of their laughter comes from relief that the situation is far more benign then they originally thought.
** The couple in "Chimney Trapped Crook" are initially pretty frightened by the burglar stuck in their chimney, but once they calm down and see the police officers and firemen laughing about it, they very quickly find the humor in the situation.
* AdultFear: Your kid could get struck by lightning, get run over by a school bus, drown, hide from dangerous burglars, fall out of a multistory building, choke on something, get burned, get electrocuted, get shot...pleasant dreams!
** And don't forget how if a kid doesn't get hurt, s/he has to ''watch'' an adult or another kid being hurt, and they can't do almost anything about it but call 911 and wait. The mere idea of having a kid subjected to trauma like that is freaking scary for adults.
* AllPartOfTheShow[=/=]RealityIsUnrealistic: A few times, people assume that the victims are joking.
** This is discussed in "Send in the Clowns," where a clown's reaction to cardiac arrest is almost mistaken for a comedy act.
** This is also discussed in "Cannonball Kid," as the victim had a reputation for goofing around, and most of the other teens at the pool party just initially assumed that he was continuing to do so.
* UsefulNotes/AmericanAccents[=/=]UsefulNotes/CanadianAccents: Because the majority of episodes feature incidents from all over the United States and Canada, a wide spectrum of North American anglophone accents can be heard throughout the series.
* BabiesEverAfter: Sometimes during the epilogues, the victims are seen playing with children they've had post-accident, as a nice way of showing how they have moved on with their lives.
* BeeAfraid:
** "Swarm Save": A flatbed truck transporting beehives tips over in the middle of the night, and the swarms of agitated bees attack the driver and the rescue personnel. It's mentioned that the driver retires from beekeeping after the incident.
** "911 Honeybee Horror": While mowing some property, a man agitates a hive of feral honeybees. Again, the bees swarm the victim and the rescue personnel, and they have to call in some beekeepers to help evacuate the victim.
* BittersweetEnding: Sometimes they walk away with damage or even worse but a greater tragedy was averted.
** In "Runaway Boxcars," [[spoiler:the officer managed to prevent a much bigger accident, but one of the two people in the car died]].
** The episode with the crocodile in Africa. [[spoiler:The victim walks away with permanent arm damage...and the dad ''lost his arm''.]]
** "Sealant Overdose": [[spoiler: The good news? They saved the patient. The bad news? He has brain damage.]]
** "Scuba Cave": [[spoiler: Two out of the three divers make it out. One of them even manages to climb out of the water ''himself''.]]
** "Butane Huffing": Three teens stop huffing butane, but it took the death of a fourth to teach them the lesson.
** "Loggers' Baby": Baby Benjamin's life is saved, and he gets adopted. But Shatner notes that the authorities never identify the mother who left him for dead, and Benjamin might grow up never knowing about the loggers who saved his life.
** "Bar Blast": The crooks are nabbed and later convicted, but the man who was shot dies, and the town of Cody, Wyoming loses its sense of security.
* BodyHorror:
** "Baby Bathtub Burn". You'll never look at hot water the same again.
** ''Any'' of the burns. There's one where hot grease is spilled on a baby and the ''grandmother'' gets burns on ''her'' hands, too.
** "Frozen Boy" from episode 704 mentions that the kid's fingers swelled up when medical personnel put them in fluid to warm them up. Then to drive the point home, they show pictures of the swollen fingers, and it's ''not'' pretty.
* CanadaEh: While the majority of episodes took place in the United States, a few took place in Canada, and got to show off just how badass Canadians can be.
** "911 Ottawa Bank Bust" is a great example. The bank robber is coolly stared down by a bank patron who decides to follow him by truck (getting shot at for his trouble), and one of the hostages later in the episode kicks the gun out of the robber's hands and gets himself and the other hostage free.
** "Teen Hides from Intruders" takes place in Surrey, British Columbia, and the responding officers are RCMP.
* CatScare: At the beginning of "911 Silent Intruder", the young woman is momentarily startled by her pet cat's mewing.
* ContentWarning: Occasionally, when a segment is especially intense, Shatner will lead off by saying that the story "may be too intense for some viewers."
* CrimeReconstruction: And accident reconstruction, too.
* DownerEnding: This is mostly averted ''because'' the victims acted the right way and emergency services came in time, but unfortunately there were [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_911#Deaths a few episodes]] where people actually died.
** This was notable in "Butane Huffing," where a teenager collapses and dies after huffing butane to get high, which was ostensibly produced to make the point that [[DrugsAreBad Inhalant Abuse Is Bad]].
* DrivenToSuicide: "Suicide Save," "911 Suicide Save," and "Suicidal Caller".
* DrugsAreBad: "Sealant Overdose" and "Butane Huffing" specifically mention inhalants. The show also had a couple of drunk-driving cases, and pointed out that it's the ''drunk-driving'' that's bad.
** There was also one about binge-drinking, but it was pointed out that the ''binge'' drinking was bad.
* EaglelandOsmosis: When the show was exported outside of North America, Australian viewers were reminded to call 000, and UK viewers were likewise reminded to call 999.
** In New Zealand, despite showing a disclaimer that 111 is their emergency call number, the show still had to be re-titled ''Rescue 111'' in New Zealand shortly after, then simply ''Rescue'' in its final years.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first season was a bit rocky compared to what the show later became. Reenactments were much more heavily dramatized, some segments were a bit more violent and less family-friendly, there were more documentary-style segments, and Shatner was a bit more animated in his host segments.
** "Supermarket Hostage," which was part of the first regular episode, concludes with a WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue where the segment's reenactors break character and present the woman who called 911 with flowers and letters of gratitude.
* EmergencyServices
* EyeScream: "Chemistry Hero." A science experiment blew up in a science teacher's face, but thanks to the quick thinking of a colleague who got him to the emergency eye washer immediately and irrigated his eyes until the paramedics arrived, his sight was saved.
* FireForgedFriends: It's not uncommon for strangers to become friends over the rescues, or for people who are already friends to become closer.
** {{Inverted|Trope}} in "Balcony Fall," where it's mentioned that best friends Andrea (the victim) and Rachel (the friend) had grown apart in the six months after the accident, because Rachel didn't feel comfortable around Andrea anymore due to SurvivorGuilt.
* FiveSecondForeshadowing: A subtle example in "Sixth Grade CPR." The math teacher makes a big mistake during a lesson on rounding[[note]]He incorrectly states that 495 rounds down to 490, instead of ''up'' to 500[[/note]], before collapsing a couple of seconds later.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: The victim of "Happy Ending Hang Glider" ended up marrying the nurse who took care of him.
* ForWantOfANail:
** {{Discussed|Trope}} by the lady rescued in "Train Track Hero." She compares the titular hero to Creator/JimmyStewart's character in ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', saying that if Luis hadn't been there to save her from the train collision, then she wouldn't be around for things like the birth of her first grandchild or her daughter's wedding.
** Also discussed by the victim in "Heat Stroke Hiker," who says that if the other people hadn't been present to help her, then she wouldn't have lived to get married and have a baby.
* FreudianExcuse: The girl in "Glass Bottle" never drinks from a bottle because of her traumatic experience with the bottle.
** It's been mentioned that the kid whose tongue got frozen to the freezer stays the hell away from the icebox in real life because of what happened.
** After one of her children choked on a lollipop, a mother said she no longer allowed them in her house.
* HappyEnding: Aside from a few exceptions, ''Rescue 911'' featured these. Justified in that the point of the show was to show how the response ''causes'' a happy ending.
* HellIsThatNoise:
** The tone in "Mystery Dispatch."
** The buzzing made by the swarming bees in "Swarm Save" and "911 Honeybee Horror."
* HumiliationConga: A RealLife example happened to the titular crook from "Chimney Trapped Crook." First, he got stuck in the fireplace after [[WhatAnIdiot trying to break in through the chimney]] right around Christmastime. Then the homeowners called the police, who showed up and had a good laugh. Then a fire/rescue crew showed up, and ''they'' all had a good laugh. Then the homeowners started taking some pictures to send to friends and family, further adding to the humiliation. Then, after spending half the night upside down, he is freed from the chimney--only to get tackled by some cops and firemen, arrested, and (later) sentenced. THEN some producers made an episode of ''Rescue 911'' about it...
* HystericalWoman: Justified to some extent due to the extreme emergencies in some cases.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: What many of the rescuers say afterward.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: The show didn't follow a consistent formula when naming segments, usually opting to give a two or three word description of the segment's content, and occasionally left segments untitled. When they ''did'' use idiosyncratic names, however, they typically went for a variation of "911 [subject]" (such as "911 Video Stabbing"), "[subject] Save" ("EMT Husband Save"), an AlliterativeTitle ("Regatta Rescue"), or a combination of any of the three ("911 Stalker Save").
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: In "911 He's Not an Officer," a young man in a Mustang honks at a woman driving her car and flashes a badge in an attempt to get her to pull over. Suspicious of his behavior, she calls 911 on her car phone and tails him when he tries to flee. And yes, it turns out he was not a police officer, and was using a stolen badge.
* InstantEmergencyResponse: Averted considering that the stories usually have emergency services seeming to take forever to get to the emergencies. For instance, there is a story of wounded man in an isolated farm house and it was noted that it would take 20 minutes for the ambulance to get there at maximum speed with lights and siren.
** In another episode, the father of a baby bitten by fire ants meets the ambulance at the highway due to the remote location of their home.
* KidHero: Quite a few. They even produced a special about it.
* LicensedPinballTable: Made by Creator/{{Gottlieb}} in 1994, and fairly well-regarded to boot. [[Pinball/{{Rescue 911}} Click here for details.]]
* ManipulativeEditing: In one episode, a kid fell in a frozen river and was stuck underwater for about 45 minutes. One YouTube commenter pointed out that the kid actually had shoplifted and was running away, and the media painted it as a rescue. In real life, he faced no charges for what he did because of what happened.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: A recurring theme is people who pull through despite slim prognoses that they'll survive their horrific injuries. Justified as the point of the series is to show that these people do survive because they get help in time.
** There was a case of woman driving down the freeway when he accelerator pedal got stuck, and she was also unable to shift into Park due to a transmission issue. She drove for several miles at a high speed before crashing; as she was being loaded into the ambulance, she overheard a bystander saying, "She must be dead; there's no way she could have survived."(She was actually released from the hospital that same day.)
* OhCrap: A common reaction by 911 operators and paramedics when they discover how severely someone is injured, or by the victims themselves when they realize something bad is about to happen.
* OneSteveLimit: The two loggers in "Loggers' Baby" are both named Ken. Shatner even refers to them as "the Kens" in the narration.
* OutsideRide: A variation occurs in "Bumper Baby," which has a two-year-old girl clinging for dear life onto the back of her father's box truck as it flies down the highway with her dad none the wiser at the wheel.
* ThePublicDomainChannel: The kids in the segments all seem to love old cartoons.
* {{Rescue}}: The central premise of the show.
* RescueRomance: Has happened on a couple of episodes, like "New Zealand Heart Attack".
* RousseauWasRight: Within the show itself, it's surprising how many times a random person saves a complete stranger.
** In "Wrong Number Rescue," a couple of kids call a wrong number by mistake. On the other line is an old man who is wheezing and saying he can't catch his breath, so they call an ambulance after finding out where he lives.
** In "Train Track Hero," the hero doesn't hesitate to put himself in danger to save a complete stranger from an oncoming train.
* SocietyMarchesOn: In a few episodes, callers didn't ''have'' a 911 service, so they called a specific number for a police or fire department. The show's popularity actually coincided with the adoption of the 911 emergency service in the U.S. and Canada, and certainly helped spread public consciousness about it.
** This was notable in "Wrong Number Rescue," where the girls had to look up the emergency numbers, since they lived in a town that was too small for a 911 service.
** There are also scenes of people bicycling without helmets and children's car seats placed in the front of vehicles, neither of which would be acceptable today.
* SoundEffectBleep: Done to preserve anonymity. Whenever a victim's address is mentioned during the replay of a 911 recording, the show bleeps it with bursts of static.
* SpiritualSuccessor: The show was basically a real life ''{{Series/Emergency}}''.
* StrictlyFormula: Aside from the occasional change in the routine, such as with the documentary segments or segments without a clear victim, each segment followed the same formula:
** Shatner would open the segment in a 911 call center or in front of emergency vehicles, delivering an OpeningNarration to introduce the segment.
** Each segment consists of reenactment footage interspersed with Shatner's narration and talking head interviews from the participants in the incident. Typically, the victim or victims themselves do not have a talking head interview at first.
** As the segment begins, light music plays as the reenactment footage shows the soon-to-be victim(s) or helpers going about their business.
** The incident occurs. Frequently, someone immediately jumps in to render aid.
** Someone calls 911 for help, and the recording of the call is heard.
** Rescue services are rendered.
** If someone is injured, then their hospital stay and recovery are documented.
** Once we see that the victim is all right, we get a talking head interview with that person. Soft, happy music would play as we see a WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, typically culminating in a FreezeFrameEnding showing everyone happy.
* SupportingProtagonist: A variation if you assume that the victims are the "protagonists" of each segment. The show focuses primarily on the people who work to help the victim; we usually don't get a talking head interview with the victim until the end, after we see that everything is okay.
* SurvivorGuilt: Many people who come out of a situation relatively unscathed mention in their talking head interviews that they wish that the incident had harmed them rather than the actual victim.
* SurvivorshipBias: While occasionally averted, focused on emergencies that ended up with the person in danger surviving and continuing to live a normal life (although not always in one piece), as well as victims of massive disasters that also survived the destruction.
* TaughtByTelevision: A great many viewers learned from the show and were able to act properly in their own emergencies. This led to the "100 Lives Saved" and "200 Lives Saved" specials, which profiled some of these people.
* TimeBomb: A [[http://kuhistory.com/timeline/schools-a-blast/ real life example]] from "University Pipe Bomb," with only 40 seconds left on the clock by the time the detective gets to the bomb.
* TruthInTelevision: Some people on Website/YouTube who were ''in'' the show have actually left comments about it.
** Some of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning actually mirror the flu--a common pattern was that the family poisoned by CO thought that they were coming down with something.
* TwistEnding: "911 Silent Intruder" starts out looking like a regular ''Rescue 911'' burglary episode, complete with a dramatic reenactment and serious talking head interviews. The twist comes when the police officer discovers [[spoiler:that the "intruder" is actually an armless mannequin, and no one was in any danger whatsoever.]]
* WhamShot: "Unconscious Driver" from episode 314 doesn't show the passengers of the out-of-control car until about a third of the way into the segment. The Wham occurs when when the camera pans from the unconscious driver to [[spoiler:her oblivious toddler riding in the passenger seat]].
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The show never said whether the men who were scaring the babysitter in "911 Baby Sitter Prowler" were tracked down or arrested.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Nearly ''always'' done at the end of a segment. Usually, ''Rescue 911'' filmed the segment's protagonists walking along a beach or walkway, visiting a fun center or public park, or other somesuch. The show also liked to film the protagonists meeting back up with the dispatchers and/or other personnel that rendered assistance.
** If their segment is posted on Website/YouTube, then sometimes the people involved (or those who know them) will post a comment, saying what they're up to today.
* WoundedGazelleGambit:
** In "Hijacked Ambulance," a crook pulled over and arrested for drug possession fakes a heart attack, then hijacks the ambulance sent to help him.
** The same thing happens in "Prison EMT's," when two convicted murderers use an ambulance to escape the Tennessee State Prison after one fakes chest pains.
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